Number 1156

4 IN 1 VOLUME 5 (LP/CD by EE Tapes)
  Gikt Records)
AVIVA ENDEAN – (CD by Sofa) *
ERIS 136199 (CD by Buster and Friends)
THE VEGETABLE ORCHESTRA – ONIONOISE (CD by Transacoustic Research) *
ZIMIAMVIAN NIGHT – 3 (2CD by Infraction Records) *
LÄRMSCHUTZ – WOOD + TIN (CDR by Baltos Rozes Tinklas) *
VARROPAS – RAKUUNA (cassette by Ikuisuus)
BENJAMIN FLESSER – RESA (casssette by Cloudchamber Recordings) *
BIRCHES – BIRCHES SESSIONS VOLUME 3 (cassette by Dropsongs) *

4 IN 1 VOLUME 5 (LP/CD by EE Tapes)

This bunch didn’t arrive on the same day, so in the past weeks I have been hearing these in various
combinations. I was thinking where to start the review and decided to start with the closest outsider
of the Insane Music family and that is M.A.L. Daniel Malempre, as his real name is, is one of the
main musical collaborators of Alain Neffe, the man behind Insane Music, once a cassette label and
a family of bands and projects, most of which are subject of this review. Malempre was the guitarist
of Kosmose, more about that later, of Human Flesh and Subject. Very early on, somewhere in the
mid 80s probably, I already heard the story of a demo he send in the mid 70s of his solo guitar and
reel-to-reel compositions, which concept was ‘stolen’ by Manuel Göttsching on his ‘Inventions For
Electric Guitar’ and since then I was always curious to hear M.A.L.’s own music. There has not been
a lot of that, but EE Tapes released ‘Eighties’ (see Vital Weekly 585) which included pieces he
recorded in those years, but this new CD contains his 1972 to 1976 recordings. The cover tells you
the technical side of the story, about one guitar and a four-track recorder, bouncing of tracks and
recording at higher/slower speeds. And of course I too went to the Göttsching 1975 record (look for
it on YouTube) to compare both albums. It is not difficult to hear that both tap out of the same book
of ideas; guitars, lots of delays and both are cosmic trip. I am not the sort of guy that can rightfully
say if Göttsching stole the idea for this from Malempre, or simply was simultaneously developing
his own brand of working with reel-to-reel recorders. As did Brian Eno and Robert Fripp at the same
time; all building on working with reel-to-reel machines like musique concrete composers did since
the fifties. M.A.L. has sixteen pieces here and range from a minute miniature to over fifteen minutes.
There is indeed a lot of music on this release, seventy-seven minutes and not all tracks are equally
great, but you get a very good idea of how M.A.L. worked. It works best if he keeps his drones and
loops together, spice with some bass notes and a small, repeating melody or phrase, as in
‘Cassiopee’ or ‘Betelgeuse’. Sometimes a song is merely an idea and that’s it, but then it doesn’t
work that well, especially when it is a long piece, such as in ‘Thor’. I am not deciding the fight over
originality here. I enjoyed hearing these pieces after all the rumour for all these years and all
Göttsching fans should hear this too and make up their own minds.
    Malempre was together with Alain Neffe part of Kosmose in the seventies and up until a few
years ago I never knew that Neffe did any music before 1979/1980 when he surfaced with Pseudo
Code. Back then, when I first heard his music, I knew that I Scream was a solo project with some
older recordings, but I didn’t think he would be part of a band. Sub Rosa released a double CD by
them some years ago and that was the first time I heard about it. That one wasn’t reviewed, but EE
Tapes did one as well (see Vital Weekly 1111) and the archives of Kosmose are delved into further
with this double release (and I happen to know there is more in case someone is interested). Here
Kosmose is Neffe on monophonic synthesizer, flute, primitive rhythm box, cymbal, bell, clumpsy
voice, tarang, Malempre on electric guitar, 112 string acoustic guitar and Francis Pourcel on bass,
bass with violin bow, electric guitar. Kosmose went through various stages with differing line-ups
and this is the first version and contains a recording of their only concert. The absence of a
drummer makes them even more spacier, more kosmische than on the previous recordings I heard
from them. Malempre’s guitar sounds at times like it does sound like the work on his solo CD. I quite
enjoyed those previous releases, but they reach for a sound here that I like even more. It is hippie
trippy music of course, vast and spacious, free and wild, but it is very much away from the beat
driven krautrock that was also part of the scene and of which Kosmose also had a bit. But these live
recordings, recorded with two microphones and reel-to-reel deck (“recorded by Alain while playing”
says the cover; bravo!), makes that this is also a bit of rough diamond and it exactly that roughness
that I like very much. There is nothing polished about this music and we are witnessing an all out
space jam. Close your eyes and float away; play loud and you could believe you are right there
and then, present in the audience. No incense required but it could help (I wouldn’t know; I dislike
incense). One hundred minutes of pure bliss,
    The ‘4 in 1’ series are a sort of progress report/archive of Insane Music bands, but also allowes
outsiders into the family. The first one is a legendary cassette from the early 80s, followed by a LP a
little later. Volume 3 (CD; see Vital Weekly 846) and 4 (cassette; see Vital Weekly 1043) are more
recent and now there is a volume 5, again on LP, with three Alain Neffe projects and M.A.L. is also
present. There is a CD version included with bonus tracks for all four projects, one for each. The
archival function is for the pieces by I Scream (1975) and Human Flesh (“late 80s-early 90s”)
whereas from Bene Gesserit and M.A.L. the pieces were recorded in recent years. Those two
projects are on the first side, with four Bene Gesserit pieces that display their Dadaist version of
electronic music in a very fine way. The voices are fed through a vocoder in ‘Ceci N’est Pas Une
Chanson…’, or with Benedict G singing mysteriously in ‘Les Fourmis’, or the all out fun (?) of ‘Half
Hyserical Mid Tempo Sort Of Rock’, being a very classic and funny Bene Gesserit piece. M.A.L.
has expanded his old style with drum machines and synthesizers and his music has a fuller flavour
now. A bit orchestral in ‘Trinity Will Kill Again’, Middle Eastern inspired in ‘Turkish Morning’ or raga
in ‘Indian Song’, all of which come with M.A.L.’s trademark guitar loops. Human Flesh here is in full
collaborative modus here, with people supplying sounds on tape and Neffe adding his music and
sounds to it. Some of these pieces are with M.A.L. or Xavier S of Pseudo Code but also words
supplied by Lena Torgrimsen. Human Flesh is always a bit moody and atmospheric, with string
like drones and loops of saxophones, flutes and guitars and with these pieces reach for a more
poetic approach, not unlike Cortex, even if that was more minimal. I Scream remain one of the
more obscure Neffe projects, his earliest solo music from the mid 70s. Here he experiments with
old synthesizers and reel to reel machines, rhythm machines and “Elka strings” and the music is
the most experimental of the whole record, with weird synthesizer sounds, especially on the CD
bonus track ‘(Maybe) I’m Slowly Going Insane’, but also cosmic in ‘Saved By The Synth’. Hearing
this I think it should be about time there is a double CD with all of these early I Scream pieces.
Excellent compilation and with only four bands one has a clearer idea of what they are about
should you be a novice to this music.
    And then Pseudo Code. I can’t reveal my personal hierarchy in liking bands from Insane
Music, but I can tell you that Pseudo Code is my favourite band. It is, perhaps, also the first I really
heard and read about; no doubt in a fanzine called ‘BoH’ and a Dutch music magazine ‘Vinyl’.
Early on I picked up their second 7″ ‘Moon Effect’ and it was a band that stood out on compilation
cassettes, very much like The Legendary Pink Dots, but differently. I guess the voice of Xavier S
plays an important role here, as it is very much a recognizable voice of what seems at times a very
troubled singer. A voice of pain and anger maybe. Alain Neffe plays synthesizers, rhythm machine,
strings organ and saxophone while Guy Marc Hinant plays pianet (also a very uncommon
instrument in the world of ‘industrial’ music, and yes, I know they hated that word), percussion, or
guitar. The rhythm machine keeps the music together, while everybody, singer included, more or
less freely moves around that. Sometimes this may result in a proper song, certainly when Neffe
plays a melody (or Hinant on guitar in the title piece), but it can also be a rather free form music
piece of loosely connected sounds, such as the beautiful ‘Lament’, which seems to be more the
result of improvisation, but around some guidelines. All of the pieces, save one, which now appears
in a longer form, were previously unreleased. I have no idea how deep the Pseudo Code vaults are
as we have seen quite a bit of recent archival releases. I am very happy with all this new/old music,
as it expands the already rich history here with some further releases and none of these recent
releases show any sign of weaker songs. There is most certainly not a scraping the barrel idea
here. Is there more? Give it to us! Is this it? What a heritage! (FdW)
––– Address:
––– Address:


Two of three new releases by Ftarri contain music performed by a group of six people. Five of the
six players on ‘Sextet’ delivered each a composition, which is then performed by the group. These
six musicians are Mirami Saeki (voice), Wakana Ikeda (flute), Yoko Ikeda (viola), Taku Sugimoto
(guitar), Stefan Thut (cello) and Manfred Werder (glockenspiel, typewriter). Only Seaki didn’t bring
a composition to play. It is very easy to see why these people work together and what bonds them;
all of this comes out of the Wandelweiser playbook of music. Things are very silent and careful on
this disc and seventy-five minutes also something that isn’t all that easy to take in at once, and yes,
I am very well aware that is not necessary at all, but as a reviewer I guess that’s how things go from
time to time, playing releases front to back. As said with all the quietness on this disc this is not very
easy, as if one approaches this silence in a very Zen way, perhaps taking it all in in an easier, it will
be a wealth to enjoy it all at once If you concentrate very hard on the music, then it becomes very
demanding and it is possible to hear two in a row and then get a different kind of distraction.
Everybody here plays sparsely, with occasional tones, strums, notes being carefully placed around,
like little dots in the sky. This is all very refined music, not easy to access but once it unfolds, it
works really well.
    Also six players are to be found with the group Common Objects, which Rhodri Davies started
in 2006. He plays the electric harp, John Butcher on soprano and tenor saxophones, Angharad
Davies and Lina Lapelyte on violin, Lee Patterson on amplified devices and processes and Pat
Thomas on electronics. They improvise as well as play graphic scores and semi-structured pieces.
Here they have a recording from the Pitt Rivers museum in Oxford (you know, where the have the
shrunken heads form the Harry Potter movie) and Butcher choose four objects made of wood, bone
and clay, “evoking consideration of water, air, earth, spirit, ritual and utility”, plus the building as the
fifth object. In the score Butcher made there are different combinations of players and that results in
a very vibrant recording. There is not a lot of quietness on this disc that much is sure. This is a fine
piece of music in which there may be not a lot of common objects used, but at the same time the
instruments used also don’t always sound like they are supposed to be. Blending odd techniques
and objects to play their instruments in combination with the electronics and processing
approaches by Patterson and Thomas make this a great release. Sometimes, all of a sudden, one
recognizes the violin, or the saxophone (in the middle for instance), along with shortwave radio,
slowly transforming into an altogether more abstract rattle of sounds. There are quite some
dynamics in play here, going from subtle and quiet (not as quiet as the previous release by
Meenna I just heard) to loud yet controlled and detailed. There is some fine movement in this
piece, with players stopping and starting with excellent interaction among them. You can hear
the excitement they had while playing this concert and there is much experience at work here.
    The third release is a double disc by Taku Sugimoto on guitar and Minami Saeki’s voice and
words. We should see this as a documentation of concerts they did in europe in October 2017 and
March/April of this year. There are some guests on some of these songs, such as Leo Dupleix
(computer, objects, sine-tones), Lauri Hyvärinen (guitar), Takashi Masubuchi (guitar) and Wakana
Ikeda (flute). ‘Songs’ is the right word for this music, as all the pieces are quite short; easily around
one to three minutes with a handful being a bit longer an one over twelve minutes. With this music
we return to the quiet approach, but of course that is something we know Sugimoto for, and we
know this since many years. Saeki’s style here is more speaking than singing I would think and
she does that in a sort of staccato style. It is all in Japanese, so I assume. Sugimoto adds his
minimal guitar playing, which is perhaps in a similar staccato style. A note, silence, another note.
The guest players play accordingly; quiet and minimal. Close to two hours of music, which i can
easily admit is also quite a stretch to go through in one run, and it is perhaps best to play one disc
a day. This too has a Zen like approach and the listener can decide his ideal position to take it all
in; that is either with full attention or let it all wash over you. (FdW)
––– Address:

  Gikt Records)

Swedish guitarist Loxbo was part of Mats Gustafsson’s Fire Orchestra for a while. In 2012 he
released his first solo album as a singer-songwriter. He made a drastic turn on his second album,
released on his newly established Gikt label. Here he investigates the sound aspects of steel-
stringed acoustic guitar, using extended techniques. Danish drummer Anders Vestergaard is
interested in working with feedback and other ways of extending sound world of percussive
instruments. He is an active force in the Danish music scene, leading his own band Yes Deer, etc.
They started their collaboration in 2014, using a great many of instruments and installations. Over
the years they reduced their set of instruments. For this release, the second release by the
Stockholm-based Gikt label, they play acoustic guitar and percussion and analogue feedback.
The cd consists of two improvisations both taking 15 minutes. They are not afraid of silence and
this is absolutely part of their concept. Loxbo plays in a style reminiscent of Derek Bailey.
Vestergaard introduces sparse sounds of various origins. They have a very disciplined and less-
is-more attitude. Short interactions vanish in silence in order to emerge again from silence a few
seconds later. And this works. There is an undeniable essence in their Zen-like improvisations;
an intriguing dialogue with silence. (DM)
––– Address:


Aviva Endean is a Melbourne-based clarinet player, improviser and composer. Her interest for
sound led to projects in very different contexts: improvised, new chamber music, performance,
and sound-installation and much cross-disciplinary collaboration. Also she plays in several bands.
For example Crush Crush a duo with Evelyn Ida Morris, and Sludge Party, a bass wind and drums
trio with Justin Marshall and Anna Gordon. Now we are speaking of her first solo album that
consists of composed as well as improvised material. Partly she took inspiration from “the
musicologist Andrew Killicks’ concept of ‘holicipation’— a term he coined to describe solo musical
practices that are not rehearsals, not practicing for something, but are playing for oneself. The
playing is ‘holistic’ in the sense that it constitutes audience, composer and performer, and has no
investment in a musical future, but instead finds nourishment in the present. “ By consequence this
work is of a contemplative and intimate nature. A very personal work. For each piece she plays a
different clarinet combined with a tool or application for special resonance and colouring. Like the
skin of the timpani in ‘Apparition: above’. On the central track she sings combined with whistles,
sounding almost like a song somewhere from the African continent. On ´Undulations: behind´ she
plays the umthsingo, a harmonic flute combined with effect pedals. The applications don´t lead
away from the characteristics of the wind instruments, but enforces and enriches aspects of timbre
and sound. By using long notes and melodic patterns the music remains very accessible and
sometimes trance-inducing. (DM)
––– Address:


Stracke is a pianist, improviser and composer from Berlin. She has a duo with saxophonist
Alexander Beierbach and a trio HalbSechs with Berit Jung and Hampus Melin, to mention a few
of her activities. Both Jung (bass) and Melin (drums) are long time collaborators of Stracke and
are also involved on this new project called ‘Instrumental chairs’. Daniel Meyer completes them
on guitar. On her way back from a workshop in Canada, she had to spend so time in the waiting
room of the airport. Bored she began to study the shapes and forms of the furniture that surrounded
here. And so a new fascination was born. Back home she started to study furniture in all its aspects
and she became acquainted with Satie’s ‘Musique d’Ameublement’. Ideas and intuitions became
musical ideas, musical ideas led to the music as it is now presented on the cd. Must have been an
interesting process, if that is the adequate term. Because each title is named after a piece of
furniture, one asks how can properties of these functional objects lead to musical constructions?
How does this ‘translation’ work? Anyway, whatever the genesis may be, in the end what counts
for me as a listener is if  the music has its own identity and power. The opening track ‘Teetisch’
starts like a piece of piano music by Florian Fricke but during its six minutes length the piece
changes more than once of style and idiom, evoking the very different objects on the tea table as it
were,  or the very different aspects of this object. Halfway ‘Kaffeehausstuhl’ a ‘Schlager’-like melody
breaks through leading us close to the borders of kitsch. In other tracks we can trace influences of
jazz, improvisation, chamber music and more. The music is intelligently constructed and
transparent; accessible as well as experimental. Each track is like a comfortable chair with a
unique shape, created through the relaxed interplay between the four musicians. (DM)
––– Address:

ERIS 136199 (CD by Buster and Friends)

It is a long time ago I came across the name of Nick Didkovsky, a name I recall for several fantastic
concerts by his band Doctor Nerve, many years ago… I didn’t follow his movements in the last few
years. So I´m exited to have this one now. We meet him here in the Eris 136199-trio, named after
a small planet in our solar system. The trio was formed in 2012 and debuted in 2015 with ‘Anomic
Aphasia’ for Slam Records (with Josh Sinton as a fourth participator). Besides Didkovsky the trio
consists of Han-Earl Park (guitar) and Catherine Sikora (saxophones). Both are new to me. Irish-
born Catherine Sikora moved in 2000 to New York where she lives and works as part of
ensembles led by Elliott Sharp, Ross Hammond, Ursel Schlicht, a.o. Also she has a long-standing
duo-collaboration with Eric Mingus. In 2016 Relative Pitch Records released her solo-debut
‘Jersey’. Han-earl Park is also from Ireland and works as an improviser, guitarist and constructor,
played with Charles Hayward, Richard Barrett, Wadada Leo Smith and many others. Together as
three individuals with a very different history and voice they produce a radical kind of music. The
improvisations are as complex as their names: “Therianthropy I-IV”, “Adaptive Radiation I-III”,
“Universal Greebly” and “Hypnagogia I-II”. The sax of Sikora is often at the centre of their live
interactions. She blows her way through and seems undisturbed by the interventions of her mates.
A solo voice with a fine phraseology. Of all three her playing is most conventional. Second comes
the guitar playing by Didkovsky who remains close to  rock how far out his playing may sound.
Han-Earl Park plays much in a way as we know from the English school of guitar improvisers.
Together they create intriguing and complex puzzles of sound and textures. (DM)
––– Address:


Behind this duo we find P. Maze, who is also known as one half of “noise/techno duo” Orphan
Swords and Otto Lindholm, from Brussels. I never heard of either of these. Lindholm is somebody
who plays double bass and produces “a range of rich and voluptuous tones, emotions, and
elongated melodies”. There is not a lot to go by how and where this was recorded, or what kind
of instruments is used by Maze. I think it is safe to say this is a work of two people playing together
and not a work of two people exchanging sound files through the net (I might be wrong of course).
There are four pieces here, in total some forty minutes (there is also a LP version) and within that
timeframe and these instruments, Maze and Lindholm erect some mighty walls of drone music.
The bass is bowed in a very slow manner, reaching for some very deep tones, with a sweet portion
of distortion on top, along with some rusty and crusty electronics by Maze in a similar slow and
pleasantly menacing modus. While there is no such recommendation on the cover I think it is best
to play this CD with some considerable volume at home and let the sound be immersive. Play this
as loud as humanly is possible (or so that the neighbours won’t complain). I would like to think this
is recorded in big space, like a church, the two are depicted on the inside). This massive space
adds a fine natural reverb to the music, which throughout has a slightly ambient post rock drone
sort of feeling with a fine pinch of noise added to the flavour. This is certainly a heavy trip but a
most lovely massive journey indeed. (FdW)
––– Address:


A very long time The Vegetable Orchestra played in town and due to a short bit on Dutch TV the
venue sold out, which was a rare thing for said venue. I couldn’t get in, even if I was a volunteer.
The second time the audience response was a bit less and I saw the group performing their music
on carrots, pumpkins, pickles and eggplants. Meanwhile water was boiled and several of the
instruments ended in the soup we ate afterwards. A lovely evening indeed. I recounted the same
story, more or less, when I reviewed the orchestra’s previous release (well, release I encountered
by them) in Vital Weekly 799. Like before it is sad that the visual element is missing (and the smell
no doubt of a greengrocer) and we have to take their word for the fact that this is all played on
vegetables and yes, me being a bit sceptical, find it at times hard to below. There is a lot of rhythm
to be found on this CD, as apparently vegetables make sources for percussion instruments, but
also flutes out of carrots are much used. There is a whole list on the cover. What isn’t mentioned is
any electronic effects used, such as delay and reverb, which I think surely makes up a bit of sound
of the orchestra. Delay plays for instance a prominent role in the first piece and reverb throughout
this CD. As said, rhythm plays an important role and the orchestra (ten players in total) play these
pieces in a very minimal way. There is always a melodic component to these pieces, played on
whatever instrument, usually a more or less flute like or xylophone like. Throughout there is a lot of
variation in approaches and with the pieces being brief and to the point this is a release with a
considerable amount of speed. Throughout this is a most lovely release indeed. (FdW)
––– Address:

ZIMIAMVIAN NIGHT – 3 (2CD by Infraction Records)

Somewhere along the lines I missed out on the second release by Mike Bennett’s project
Zimiamvian Night, which was released in 2007. The first one I did hear and was reviewed in
Vital Weekly 462. So much time has passed for this project from the member of Carnival Of Souls.
Now there is a lovely designed double CD reminding me of a 4AD package and if I understand
well the first disc is something that is also available online and the second disc is just available
as a physical object, which is a good thing, supporting the physical objects. Oddly, perhaps,
enough the first CD is quite short, being twenty seven minutes and two pieces based around
piano improvisations by Jason Bryant, the head of Infraction, along with Bennett’s blend of field
recordings from airport, flights, McKinley Monument, the Connequot State Park and “various
noises” and “additional sounds, remix, editing and mastering by Wolf”. It results in some very non
dynamic music, of some far away piano sounds and a multitude of layers of recordings in large
empty spaces and in the second piece just outside, wide open fields of cars passing.
    The second disc also has two pieces and these last eighty minutes; there is some value for
your physical money! I could see both of these tracks as extended versions of ‘The Murmer Of
Fountain’, the long piece from the first disc. In both of the pieces the piano improvisations play
some role. Imagine a piano in an airport space (or a railway station; common feature in various
stations in the Netherlands these days), with someone strumming a bit of notes without much
coherency, yet also without pause and a microphone picking this up at quite some distance, but
then obviously also picking up whatever else goes on in this space. Obscured traffic noises
mostly, a rare bird and all of this receives a mild electronic treatment, but none of this gets to the
foreground. It all stays far away and only if you open the volume a bit more, you will notice a bit
more detail. Play this in a lower volume and it will remain pure ambient music; music from a space
for another space. The non-linear approach worked quite nicely, and also the duration worked
quite well. This is not something to be trimmed down to a few minutes; or twenty. It is best with a
super long duration, during which the listener can engage in whatever he feels works best;
reading, sleeping, check social media, the kind of stuff that may not require a lot of attention. Or
simply just sit back and do nothing, longing for a holiday with all of these airport sounds. Excellent
stuff all around. I was reminded of Ora; just so you know, in case you were looking for a reference.
––– Address:


While his name sounds like a familiar one, I think I was easily confused with the other Bayle, also
composing electronic music. I am not sure if there is a relation between the two. Julien Bayle calls
himself an “independent artists based in France, merging visual art & design, music composition,
and physical approach of sound art by designing installations and audio/visual live performances”.
He uses field recording, modular synthesizers. max/msp, granular synthesis and something he
calls ‘continuum disruptions’. The music on this rather short (twenty-three minutes) release are the
result of a residency in the ‘Mechanical & Acoustic Research Lab LMA-CNRS’ anechoic room’,
“during some deep personal difficult times”. He recorded two hours of silence in this 17db room,
and the music on this release, as far as I understand were from “tiny random variations of physical
electronic noises coming from the recording system itself, as uncontrolled spectres haunting the
wires, have been captured and amplified, cut into tiny slices and grains”, which are the sound
sources used here. Of course there is some more text about how silence is impossible (the name
of Cage is missing, is ghost is very much present). The music is nine relatively short pieces of
heavy sound treatments, no silence to be spotted. There is lots of deep bass rumble, high end
piercing sounds, and computer based treatments. Had I not known this deals in any way with
recordings made in silent rooms I would probably not thought about it. I know now, but somehow
fail to see its relevance. Bayle’s music is surely quite good in an early sort of laptop way with many
crackles, hissing and droning in a fine ‘up there’ way. Nothing is particularly careful, which is quite
nice and at twenty-three minutes this is perhaps a rather short album but I think it’s also it’s just
enough to get a solid impression and leave room for a bit more, but then next time. (FdW)
––– Address:


Twice Asmus is twice a big treat. For some, not all, I know, but I am among some. The biggest
surprise is the CD here, for the simple fact that it has no less then twenty-eight pieces. The
shortest being 1 minute and 26 seconds and the longest two minutes and forty-six seconds. With
my limited knowledge of the German language, and a bit of the Tietchens love for wordplay,
‘Stenogramme’ is not really a word, but rather one he made up. I am not sure what it means, and
while ‘Zweite Folge’ may indicate there is also an ‘Erste Folge’, I am not sure if that one is already
released. In each of the this little pieces Tietchens explores a few electronic sounds, going round
in a few variations with sound treatments and that’s it. This is quite a bit removed from his longer
and quieter pieces and we hear Tietchens in a rather playful mood. Not necessarily cheery in any
way, as there are surely some finer, darker moments here, but his musique concrete treatments of
acoustic sounds, of electronic sounds and who knows what else, show a great love for the sound
itself.  It is by all means the ‘concise’ Tietchens. It sums up the way he’s been working now for some
time, with delicate processes, longer sustaining sounds set against shorter treatments, quiet yet
never silent, vulnerable and yet never broken up in short blocks of sounds. Effectively one could
say this sums it all up. It’s not the Tietchens work, that is radically different, which he also has in
him (check ‘Fast Ohne Title, Korrosion’, reviewed in Vital Weekly 907) but he chooses to continue
exploring this line of work further and this time around in shorter sketch like pieces, and that works
wonderfully well.
    On vinyl, and apparently the first LP since ten years for Tietchens (the last one might be ‘Teils
Teils’ for Swill Radio, probably, see Vital Weekly 610), so it might be time for the vinyl hipsters to
have a new one on vinyl. At the same time you could wonder if vinyl is the best format for Tietchens’
delicate approach to music. The cover looks great with a die-cut sleeve on recycled paper, and it is
super limited (collectors beware) to 120 copies. The six pieces here are best qualified as examples
of the current Tietchens style, as outlined on ‘Stenogramme’, but here on a much longer course,
easily somewhere around five to seven minutes per piece. Tietchens probably has the same or
similar sound material at his disposal, and the same techniques he always uses, which I believe
mainly analogue filtering of sounds, and feeding the results again into the machine; then layering
the various results together in order to find an interaction between these layers that would work as
a composition. Curious this record contains some quiet music but the pressing of the record is very
good and every detail seems to be audible. Tietchens uses prolonged sounds set against shorter,
brittle sounds, that return from time to time, but I’m not always sure they are a loop; most of the
times I assume they are not. The background provides a delicate bed in which these sounds
wander around like stars at night. The musique concrete that Tietchens presents on this record is
very precious; it never gets loud, never mean or distorted and is best enjoyed in a dimly lit
environment with a fine glass of wine at, a rather normal volume. Perhaps the kind of surroundings
in which Tietchens performs his tape concerts these days, which is music for attentive people
willing to take the effort to listen. A diminishing group of people, sadly, but Tietchens labours
bravely onwards. Twice Tietchens, twice different and yet both can also be seen as extension of
the other. (FdW)
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From Poland hails Wilhelm Bras, who calls himself sometimes Lautbild, and whose real name is
Paweł Kulczyński. I reviewed some of his work before (Vital Weekly 878 and 976), but this is the
first time his music is on vinyl and surely it is the format he likes for his mutated dance music.
Rhythm plays an important role in this music, yet I doubt if it is the sort of rhythm that goes down
well on the dance floor. It’s not just the slightly distorted rhythm that sound a bit odd with their crazy
timings, but also the synthesizers at times produce some surely wacky sounds that no doubt will be
raise a few eyebrows on the floor. But that’s just me thinking that Wilhelm Bras wants to play music
for a dance floor and perhaps that is not at all the case? It is the rhythm that guides to having these
thoughts and perhaps that is all wrong. Maybe Bras wants to offer something of an experiment
within the realm of rhythm machines, samplers and synthesizers? Maybe he is just shaking up the
foundations or notions of techno music with these six abstract pieces of mad electronic sound
scapes. In a future, close by or distant, who knows, this could be dance music? Or just in a weird
science fiction movie? On the Bandcamp it says that all of these sounds are “of analogue origin
by self-made synthesizers”, so I’m imagining some modular set-up that looks like the Tardis, with
lights flashing and knobs blinking on the console and Bras being the Doctor offering a time
machine dance for a small crowd. It is all quite layered, another reason to think it is less suited for
the floor, and makes a fascinating listen, at home, in a chair, occasional head nod and foot tap.
This is lovely stuff; for whom ever is the intended audience. If you are a modular freak then surely
check this out. (FdW)
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LÄRMSCHUTZ – WOOD + TIN (CDR by Baltos Rozes Tinklas)

Some seriously thinking was required if Lärmschutz ever did a CDR release, and Discogs said
yes. I assumed, based on their many releases (of which I think some are not listed on Discogs),
that their preferred format is the cassette and the digital release. I am not sure what prompted them
to release ‘Wood & Tin’ on CDR. I actually reviewed ‘Wood & Tin II’ two weeks ago. This too was an
all-acoustic release, but here on the first incarnation the instruments are prepared guitar, played by
Stef Brans and trombone by Rutger van Driel. Here we find Lärmschutz is a surprisingly quieter and
introspective mood. While the elements of chaos are not gone here, it also seems reduced a bit.
Maybe the acoustic approach engages them in a slightly more structured approach or the
occasional melody, especially on the trombone. This acoustic approach also made it slightly more
difficult to hear I think; there is surely a lot more concentration required on the listener’s side. It’s
however good to see Lärmschutz reaching to this end of the improvised spectrum as well, with
certainly one of their more difficult releases. (FdW)
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VARROPAS – RAKUUNA (cassette by Ikuisuus)

The CDR is a re-issue, in an edition of 20 copies, of a release that already came out in 2009 and
the cassette contains all new material from 2017. Varropas is a duo of Juuso Paaso and Samuli
Kytö. The latter plays synth and the first guitar, and they have been going since 2009. The CDR
was their first release and has two long pieces, eighteen minutes and one short one. I can imagine
they toyed with the idea of putting this out as a LP. These two men love their free improvisations to
spin out for quite some time, with that free form psychedelic/industrial touch to it. Especially the
second piece of the CDR is a template for that kind of free psych sound in a lo-fi way. Varropas
studied the New Zealand music in that respect quite well, I think. It has a very fine synth driven
rhythm with the guitar producing some more krautrock inspired tones, before going all introspective
and denser mood of shimmering tones.
    Fast-forward to ‘now’ and there’s ‘Rakuuna’ and while the cover isn’t clear about it, I could/
should assume they are still playing guitar and synth. I might very well be wrong, so I realized as
this music sounded more like something out of modular synth jam session. It is very hard to believe
that there are a lot of guitars used in these cosmic jams. For all I know they could have been
switched to all synthesizers for everyone. It could effectively be two different groups for all I know.
The thing with not having heard anything else by them, produced in the last ten years makes it
complicated to know how they got from ‘then’ to ‘now’. Maybe their development has been perfectly
logical. Maybe they switched recently? In their cosmic approach they don’t have the same lo-fi
approach as before, which might also be a mark of progress of course, but it sounds altogether
also a bit like a fine yet regular space jam. It is all quite decent, but nothing out of the ordinary.
This is some pleasant head-trip music and you should leave it on repeat for some time to meet the
right headspace; a different thing! (FdW)
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BENJAMIN FLESSER – RESA (cassette by Cloudchamber Recordings)
BIRCHES – BIRCHES SESSIONS VOLUME 3 (cassette by Dropsongs)

So far Benjamin Flesser from Berlin has four releases; two of his own doing online and two on
Slovenia’s Cloudchamber of which ‘Resa’ is the second. One piece of twelve minutes per sides
and based “loosely on the concept of ‘ascension’ and ‘descent’ but taking putting those ideas and
placing them into a sound piece”, although I am not sure what that means. There is some more
text that equally is hard to understand. In the first piece, ‘Descensus Ad Inferos’ he works in a
rather linear way with a fine returning sounds towards what we could call a mighty ascent. From
the simple repeating sound it starts building until it reaches one final climax where the sounds gets
stuck until it brutally cuts out. On the other side there is ‘Ascensio Domini’, which is not really
ascending or descending in a similar dramatic way, but rather a culmination of tones becoming
slowly a denser mass of heavily treated acoustic sounds, so it seems to me as an outsider. It strips
it down and at the same time becomes more massive with more of the same sounds; curious
indeed. Quite an enjoyable release indeed, of which the only criticism is that it is a bit short. I
wouldn’t have minded hearing some more of this.
    Birches is the project by the Cloudchamber boss but released on a separate label, Dropsongs,
and released in an edition of merely twenty copies, but with a nice full colour printed cover. He
writes “most of it is live recordings, straight from the mixer, using modular synth, xøxbøx, effects,
tape loops and OP1″. This one-hour release contains seven lengthy pieces of music, easily
between seven and fifteen minutes, although the majority around seven to eight minutes, and it is
not difficult to perceive these recordings as live recordings. Birches use quite a bit of rhythm, dark
and menacing at that, plus an abundance of synthesizers and sequencers all with that firm dose of
reverb, to top it off and arrive at some highly atmospherically, post nuclear dance scene. It’s wild, at
times even quite noisy, but also veers towards the whole cosmic music scene, but then
unmistakeably much rawer and wilder, but it adds to the overall atmospheric content of the
release, and perhaps to that rougher scenery from a B-movie about apocalyptic nightmares. I
have no idea if Birches would agree to such an interpretation of his music; take a look at the cover
and we see nocturnal sceneries in the forest on display. Download the music from Bandcamp and
get a movie as a bonus and we see flickering lights; roadblocks, perhaps, around a contaminated
area? See, all of this is neatly obscure music, best enjoyed in an almost darkened room. (FdW)
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